News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th June 2006


Kandinsky: The Path To Abstraction 1908 - 1922 is the first major British exhibition of the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, one of the most important figures in the evolution of abstract painting. The show includes over 50 paintings and 30 works on paper, focusing on a crucial period in Kandinsky's evolution as an artist, from figurative landscape painter to modernist, as he developed a radically abstract language. This process began with 'Murnau - Landscape with Green House' in which one house is clearly representational, while another group of houses and rooftops suggest an abstract composition. By reducing descriptive details and stripping away superfluous elements, Kandinsky used calligraphic lines as structuring devices within his compositions. With areas of bright colour and a network of these lines, he created mobility and movement in his work, frequently making reference to the free-flowing emotions associated with music and the values attached to specific colours. Series of works entitled 'Impressions' (observations of the natural world), 'Improvisations' (spontaneous expressions of a mood or feeling) and 'Compositions' (inner visions on a grander, more ambitious scale) gave this exploration its fullest expression. While 'Cossacks' contains traces of representation, the overall effect is like an abstract painting. After his experiences of the First World War and the Russian Revolution, the flowing forms and bright colours of Kandinsky's work gave way to a rich, though more muted palette, as in 'White Oval' and 'In Grey', while his forms crystallised into ordered, geometrical structures, in works such as 'Blue Segment' and 'Circles on Black'. Tate Modern until 1st October.

Devil In The Detail: The Paintings Of Adam Elsheimer celebrates one of the unsung heroes in the history of European art. Born in Germany, but working mainly in Italy, Elsheimer died aged just 32, and only about 35 of his pictures survive. His first solo British exhibition brings all but 3 of these works together for the first time, alongside some 20 drawings and prints. Elsheimer worked on a small scale, producing extraordinarily detailed paintings on copper. He is a pivotal figure in the development of Western art, transforming every genre he touched - narrative, landscape and the depiction of interiors - and exerting a profound influence on his contemporaries, especially Rubens and Rembrandt. Though Elsheimer's paintings drew on traditional subject matter - biblical, historical, devotional and mythological - his treatments of them were totally original, often depicting scenes or themes that were hitherto unknown in painting. Elsheimer's innovative compositions and experimentation with the possibilities of light had a tremendous impact on other artists who saw his work. Among the highlights are 'Aurora', which elevated landscape and its atmosphere to the main subject of a picture for the first time; 'The Flight Into Egypt', which contained the first exact rendering of the moon's surface and the Milky Way as a dense array of stars; 'Jupiter and Mercury in the House of Philemon and Baucis', remarkable for its depiction of interior light effects; and 'The Exaltation of the Cross from The Finding and Exaltation of the True Cross' from the Frankfurt Alterpiece, broken up and dispersed during the 18th century, but painstaikingly reassembled again over a 30 year period from 1950. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 3rd September.

Designing Modern Britain examines how innovative design has shaped the modern world over the last 90 years, by reconstructing some of the landmarks with original artefacts. These include a 1931 tube station, featuring Harry Beck's revolutionary diagrammatic map of the London underground system, together with other signage and iconic posters; a room in Berthold Lubetkin's Modernist luxury 1935 Highpoint apartment complex in Highgate; part of the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank, with Ralph Tubbs's Dome Of Discovery and Michael Powell and Hidalgo Moya's Skylon; and Ben Kelly's 1982 transformation of a disused yacht showroom into the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, the blueprint for warehouse parties and superclubs. Industrial design projects include the first production models of the Alec Issigonis's Morris Minor and Mini, and early examples of Herbert Austin and Stanley Edge's Austin Seven, and Malcolm Sayer and William Heynes's E Type Jaguar - not to mention Clive Sinclair's infamous C5; and the winner of the Great British Design Quest: Concorde, sadly not the real thing, but represented by memorabilia and photographs. The exhibition even tells the story of the humble chair, from Modernist Marcel Breuer in the 1920s, to the latest in moulded plastic by Jasper Morrison. Looking to the future, there are designs and models of proposals for the 2012 Olympics in the Lower Lea Valley, and the regeneration of the Thames Gateway area, with homes, schools and sports stadia. Design Museum, London until 26th November.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,000 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year, the show has been masterminded by Peter Cook, David Mach and Alison Wilding, who have chosen the theme From Life, to inspire new work from artists responding to the concept of life and the business of living, across all the various media on display. Artists featured in this year's show include Georg Baselitz, Sandra Blow, Anthony Caro, Tracey Emin, Marcus Harvey, Damien Hirst, Ken Howard, Richard Long, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk and Richard Wentworth. There are also two memorial galleries dedicated to showing the works of the sculptor and printmaker Eduardo Paolozzi and the painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield, both of whom died last year. An accompanying programme of lectures, events and workshops covers all aspects of the exhibition, including a guided touch tour of selected sculptures, and for the first time, four art related Cushion Concerts will take place. Royal Academy of Arts until 20th August.

John Hoyland The Trajectory Of A Fallen Angel: Paintings 1966 - 2003 traces the work one of Britain's leading abstract painters, highlighting the evolution of his paintings over four decades, affirming his position as a major, innovative force in post war British painting. Hoyland has produced a body of work that eliminates literal depiction of the observed world. His art uses shape, colour, texture and the movement of paint to evoke a world of emotion and imagination. After a landmark visit to New York in 1964, where he met leading Abstract Expressionists, he forged his distinctive personal style, producing large scale abstract paintings which advanced a startling use of simple shapes and high key colour. Paintings such as '28.2.66' defied the modernist insistence on the flat reality of the picture surface, emphasising instead the quality of virtual, illusory space. During the 1970s, Hoyland produced paintings that are thickly painted and richly textural, as in 'Verge 12.10.76'. Insistently abstract, these works possess an extraordinary material physicality. Since the 1980s, Hoyland's paintings have developed far beyond their early formal emphasis, embracing imaginative invented allusions and the suggestion of other worlds, as in 'Quas 23.1.86' and 'Black Something 8.2.90'. Tate St Ives until 24th September.

Future City: Experiment And Utopia In Architecture 1956 - 2006 showcases the most radical and experimental architecture to have emerged in the past 50 years. From extraordinary houses and incredible towers, to fantasy cityscapes and inhabitable sculptures, it speculates on what it would be like to live in a hairy house, a floating city, and an inflatable pod. Featuring a who's who of architecture, the exhibition includes 70 visionary building projects and urban plans from around the world. These influential and ground breaking projects illustrate the energy and experimentation that characterise radical architecture, and raise questions about the nature of buildings, cities and society. From the visionary artist turned architect Constant Nieuwenhuys, to 1960s giants Archigram and SuperStudio, to deconstructivists Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid, and contemporary digitally inspired work by Nox and Decoi, this is the most comprehensive survey of experimental architecture to be held in Britain. With over 300 original models and drawings, plus photographs and film, the exhibition examines classic projects, from Kisho Kurokawa's 'Floating City' and Rem Koolhaas's 'Delirious New York', to unusual and innovative houses, including Shigeru Ban's 'Paper Log House' and Watanabe's 'Jelly Fish House' series. The exhibition is designed by Foreign Office Architects, one of the most influential and acclaimed London practices of recent years. Barbican Gallery until 17th September.

Welcome To The Ship: The Art Of Climate Change explores one of the most pressing issues of our time, as seen through the eyes of artists who travelled to the Arctic on the schooner The Nooderlicht, as part of the Cape Farewell project. Created by David Buckland, Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and educators together to address and raise awareness about climate change. There have been three expeditions to the Arctic so far, travelling routes that were previously icebound, and the artists' responses in photography, film, sound, sculpture, painting and printmaking, make up this exhibition. Among the highlights are: a six metre long minke whale skeleton by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, encrusted in clear alum crystals; choreographer Siobhan Davies's film Endangered Species, showing a woman dancing gracefully, but whose movement becomes increasingly restricted; glacial ice texts by David Buckland; a painting of a hermaphrodite polar bear by Gary Hume, depicting the effects of chemical pollution; Alex Hartley's photographic essay on discovering and naming a new island; Max Eastley's soundwork of cracking and melting ice; and an essay by the novelist Ian McEwan. Other artists whose works are included are Kathy Barber, Peter Clegg, Gautier Deblonde, Nick Edwards, Gretel Ehrlich, Antony Gormley, David Hinton and Michele Noach. There is also an accompanying film about Cape Farewell, 'Art from a Changing Arctic', by director David Hinton, showing how the artists were both inspired and challenged by their journeys to the Arctic. Natural History Museun until 3rd September.

Eye For Colour is a visual feast that alerts the senses and stimulates the mind, exploring the ways in which colour shapes our world. From science to art, from the natural world to human culture and language, the exhibition demonstrates how colour brings the planet to life. It reveals how colour is formed; how artists use colour in creativity - and how changes in pigments can be used to date works of art; how animals, birds and reptiles use colour as camouflage - changing colour to blend in with their environment - or to stand out from the crowd - altering their colour to attract a mate; how different cultures have used colour to communicate messages, such as warnings of danger; and how colour association works, and why we relate certain colours to particular moods and atmospheres, such as red for hot or blue for cold. The exhibition does this through a host of hands on interactive displays; plus the Mood Room, where visitors can experience how colour changes moods by being immersed in different hues; the Colour Food Cafe, where familiar foods are served up in alarmingly different colours; and the Art Machine, which enables visitors to create virtual masterpieces. Revel in the rainbow from sombre shades to psychedelic spectrums. World Museum, Liverpool until 3rd September.

Rembrandt & Co: Dealing In Masterpieces explores the story of one of the most important art dealerships in 17th century Amsterdam. Hendrick Uylenburgh and his son Gerrit operated as art dealers and owners of a painters' workshop between 1625 and 1675, during the Dutch Golden Age, when the art of painting achieved its greatest heights. The contribution made by the Uylenburghs to this development is illustrated by the artists who worked for them or in their workshop, including Rembrandt, Govert Flinck, Jurgen Ovens and Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt spent four years working in the Uylenburgh's studio, where he met Hendrick's cousin Saskia, who became his wife. During this period Rembrandt's output underwent a major change. His etchings became larger and more ambitious, treating multi-figure religious scenes, and he also began to paint commissioned portraits. Both Uylenburghs played an active role in the international art business, buying artists such as Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and many others. Gerrit Uylenburgh's London representative was the Court painter, Sir Peter Lely. The exhibition includes 19 Rembrandt paintings from this period, including 'A Girl at a Window', recently cleaned and conserved, together with others by his contemporaries. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 3rd September.


The Royal Ballet At 75 marks the anniversary of the formation of Britain's national ballet company. It comprises photographs of some of the key figures who shaped the company and influenced British ballet since 1930. These include the founder Ninette de Valios and Lilian Baylis (who provided the company with its first home) by de Valios's brother Gordon Anthony, choreographer Frederick Ashton by Angus McBean, and musical director Constant Lambert by Yvonne Gregory. Dancers from the early years include Pearl Argyle, Lydia Lopokova, Harold Turner and Anton Dolin - represented in vintage prints by photographers such as Paul Tanqueray, Cecil Beaton and Cyril Arapoff. Other images include rarely seen portraits of Alicia Markova by Dorothy Wilding, Margot Fonteyn by Yousuf Karsh and Rudolf Nureyev by Beaton, together with Michael Somes and David Blair by Tanqueray and Vivienne. Among the more contemporary photographs are Peter Wright by Barry Marsden, Wayne Sleep, Irek Mukhamedov and director Monica Mason by Alan Bergman, and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope by Jillian Edelstein. National Portrait Gallery until 23rd July.

Modernism: Designing A New World 1914 - 1939 explores the key defining movement of 20th century design, and the dreams that swept Europe, Russia and America, in the wake of the First World War, as its pioneers planned for a new and better world. The exhibition features works by key Modernist figures, including artists Piet Mondrian and Fernand Leger, architects Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, furniture designers Marcel Breuer and Alvar Aalto, fashion designer Sonia Delaunay and photographer Man Ray, with over 300 objects and more than 50 film clips. Highlights include the earliest surviving fitted kitchen, discovered recently in Frankfurt after continual use for 80 years; Miroslav Zikmund and Jiri Hanzelka's legendary silver Czech Tatra 87 car; the design for Corbusier's largest and most luxurious building, the Villa Stein De Monzie; paintings such as Leger's 'Ball Bearings', and Mondrian's 'Tableau I, Red, Black, Yellow and Blue'; examples of 'Healthy Body Culture' including X-ray machines and sun lamps and a photograph by Alexander Rodchenko of 'Sun Lovers' engaging in outdoor exercise; iconic cantilever chairs by Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto; drawings by Wassily Kandinsky, based on photographs by Charlotte Rudolph of the dancer Gret Palucca; Harry Beck's first sketch for the London Underground map; and fashions including Sonia Delaunay's knitted wool swimsuit, a suit with a bright, geometric pattern designed by Giacomo Balla, and Alexander Rodchenko's productivist outfit, designed in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Victoria & Albert Museum until 23rd July.

Felicitas Volger: The World Of Light provides a rare opportunity to see the unusual work of the German photographer who became the third wife of sculptor Ben Nicholson. They shared a passion for the abstract, and had a profound effect on each other's work. Put simply, Volger photographed landscapes in such a way that the resulting images look like abstract paintings. Volger's use of strong colour to construct abstract geometrical forms moved colour photography into an entirely new area. This exhibition, the first in Britain for over 30 years, comprises around 50 large scale photographs, spanning a career that lasted for almost 50 years. Having met in the St Ives artist colony, Volger and Nicholson moved to Switzerland, where they were both inspired by the natural grandeur of the dramatic mountain scenery. They would often work together - she would take photographs while he would sketch. In Switzerland the couple were part of another artist colony, which included Jean Art, Mark Rothko, Hans Hartung and Mark Tobey. Volger later travelled widely, photographing the dramatic natural landscapes of Tibet, South Africa, China, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. This collection of Volger's images is complemented by a small display of Nicholson's sculptures. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 9th July.